More on EMail Communication

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

I have posted on e mail before.  However, it is an important communication skill that too many people take for granted.  Recently, I came across an interesting book – Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Home and Office, written by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe.  Here are a few common sense points from the book.

Write a powerful subject line.  The subject line is the most important line in an e mail, so use powerful and meaningful – not vague – words in it.  I try to be as specific as possible in my subject lines.  I find that when I am, people are more likely to open the e mail.  I will write something like “Meeting agenda for Tuesday, July 24”, or “I need some information for the xxx project by next Thursday, July 26”. 

Create a signature block.  Most e mail programs will allow you to create a signature block that will automatically go with every e mail you send.  Mssrs. Shipley and Schwalbe suggest your name, title, company, address, phone number, fax, and web page.  My signature block looks like this.

Bud Bilanich
The Common Sense Guy
303 393 0446 office
303 868 2531 mobile (blog) (blog)

Know what not to say.  Mssrs. Shipley and Schwalbe says, “conveying an emotion, handling a delicate situation, tesitng the waters – all these chllengenges are usually better undertaken with the human voice.”  In other words, use your common sense.  Don’t fire someone or give a performance review via e mail.  Radio Shack actually did this a few months ago.  They  used e mail to inform a large group of employees that they were being layed off.

Sign off right.  Be courteous.  I always sing my e mails, “All the best”.  Mssrs. Shipley and Schwalbe suggest that in addition to “All the best”, “Best”, “Best regards”, “Best wishes”, “Regards”, and “Sincerely” are appropriate ways to end your e mails.

Watch your language.  Avoid phrases like “I can’t imagine why”, “Is is too much to ask”, “Why in the world”.  These phrases are unlikely to not go over well in face to face conversation.  They can spell disaster in e mail conversaiton.  My common sense suggestion – be polite in your choice of words.

E mail lives forever.  E mail is a searchable, archivable mdeium.  What you say in e mails can come back to haunt you – another good reason to be polite.

Forward with care.  Forwarding can get you into trouble.  Never do it with persmission, but it is saf to assume other people will do so without askking your permission.

E mail is a great communication tool.  If you follow these coomon sense seven guidelines, you’ll be able to take advantage of it and build your reputation as a good communicator. 

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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